Valerie Sperling, professor of political science at Clark University, recently lectured at the University of Helsinki’s Aleksanteri Institute as part of a seminar on Gender, Activism, and Political Legitimacy in Russia. The seminar was organized by the Doctoral School for Russian, Eastern European and Eurasian Studies (REEES), the Finnish Centre of Excellence in Russian Studies, and the Department of Social Research.
Prof. Sperling’s lecture was titled “Sex, Politics, and Putin: Gender, Activism, and Political Legitimacy in Russia.” At Clark, she teaches a variety of courses in comparative politics, including Russian politics; revolution and political violence; mass murder and genocide under communism; transitions to democracy; globalization and democracy; and introduction to women’s studies. Her research interests include globalization and accountability, social movements, gender politics, patriotism and militarism, and state-building in the post-communist region. She is the author of Organizing Women in Contemporary Russia: Engendering Transition (1999), about the emergence and development of the Russian women’s movement. Her book, Altered States: The Globalization of Accountability,was published in 2009 by Cambridge University Press. Her current book project explores the use of gender norms and sexualization in Putin-era Russian politics, with a focus on political youth activists (pro- and anti-Kremlin) and young feminist activists.